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· Discombobulated SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 201
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This is mostly for mouthpiece refacers, but others should of course feel free to pitch in. And when I say refacers, please, you "amateurs", some of whom I know do great work, chime in too if you can.

What are the main parameters of tonal characteristics that you relate to when taking on a refacing job, and how do they translate into changes on the mouthpiece? For example: if someone wants more edge I assume you'd put in a bigger baffle. What are the additional parameters you relate to most?

Are there also parameters that you don't find too helpful or can't easily relate to or can't easily translate into changes in the mouthpiece?
 

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Actually I find "edge" one of the most difficult to nail down. There are several different types/sources of edge and some types are not easy for me to provide with a rework.

Most of my clients send a mouthpiece that they are happy with the sound, but not the response. Some ask for a brighter or darker sound and we need to discuss "where": All notes, highs, lows, mids? It helps to know what they have tried and how they feel about it. This is data that helps to guide the changes. Players have different embouchures and tone concepts. So play test data helps a lot.
 

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I told Ed Z I wanted my mouthpiece "sort of tubby and buzzy" and he totally nailed it:D . How's that for providing precise technical specifications?

R.
 

· Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2011
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1,600 Posts
Grumps said:
Did he make it bumblebee shaped?
And were stripes extra?
 

· Distinguished SOTW Member
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You laugh, but if you heard it you'd sting yourselves to death with envy!


Buzz, buzz, buzz goes the honey bee,
And tweedle-dee-tweedle-dee-dee goes the bird,
But the sound of my EZ sax mouthpiece,
Is the sweetest sound I ever heard.


(played to the tune of "Buzz Buzz Buzz goes the Honeybee")

R.

ps. actually I think Ed pretty much just figured out what to do on his own.
 

· Mouthpiece Refacer Extraordinaire and Forum Contri
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Ditto, Mojo - "edge" can be tricky to decipher sometimes as there are different kinds of edge. There's "buzzy edge", "edgy edge", and "nails on the chalkboard edge" - the edgier edges being crisper and usually involve an accentuation of the higher partials through keeping the baffle high or performing specific chanting rituals. There's a few different ways to add edge to the tone, so the challenge is determining which method(s) to institute.

"Fat" is term used that to this day I have no specific recipe for. If I've ever made a piece fatter, someone please tell me what I did.

Communication is key. I often request that clients send a hard copy note in the package with their mpc so that 1) The important information is close at hand during the process - and 2) the client has really thought about (and is confirming) what they have asked for.

And Rory - you don't know how hard it was for me to complete that project. I'm very afraid of bees - as Deiter from Sprockets would say "afraid like a lit-tle girrrrrl."
 

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I have nothing to add other than that EZ's new avatar is ace! :D
 

· Mouthpiece Refacer Extraordinaire and Forum Contri
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Giganova said:
I have nothing to add other than that EZ's new avatar is ace! :D
"My Summer Vacation"...

I'll update it occasionally with more fun stuff.

What's funny is that only one person that I know of figured out (without my telling them) what my last avatar was. It's been my little quiet personal joke.
 

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I usually write a book to a refacer and they always do a great job. My experience is with Ed Z, Adam Niewood, Mojo, and Erik G. As long as you go on freakout mode and send them sound clips, recommended recordings of the type of tonal concept you're headed toward, and then eventually just let them do their job without your having to interfere so much, it always comes out a winner. It depends on whether you're going for customization, or a standard reface. Quite different things IMO.
 

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Edge is definitely a difficult thing to describe to a refacer. I've had a big-named refacer do what turned out to be great work for me. However, the mouthpieces end up being sent back because they're not nearly as bright as I'd like and often came back darker than when I sent them off. His work is usually so great that I've concluded it's actually his method of testing: he has confirmed multiple times that he uses Fibracell 2s for testing. Well, one could slap a Fibracell 2 on a Rascher or Caravan and get buzz and edge out of it. Tinny reed buzz, like from a beginner, or a matured edge to the tone, like from a well-developed player, are very different IMO. So after working on my pieces, he uses these thin buzzy Fibracell reeds to test them out and ANYTHING will sound buzzy on a 2 Fibracell. Mature edge....think Kirk Whalum. I had this refacer guy customize a Brancher .135 tenor with a smaller chamber, high baffle, enlarged window a while back. I learned to play it using strength 3 1/2 and 4 reeds, and attained a mature, brassy edge that actually sounded TOO MUCH like Kirk on recordings! I also believe that for most of Kirk's career, he used a high-baffled, small-chambered, open tenor piece with hard reeds.
 

· Mouthpiece Refacer Extraordinaire and Forum Contri
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I'll test a piece with a Fibracell if the player normally uses one, but I find that Fibracells are too forgiving - meaning that if I test a piece with flimsy cane, chances are it will play with a Fibracell no problem. If I test a piece with a Fibracell, it might have issues with some cane.

In fact, I have really crappy cane reeds that I will use to playtest pieces to ensure they are reed-friendly!

I'll add that I've sent some pieces off and missed something I had to address later on - I don't mean to imply anything other than my method for playtesting...
 
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